Video: Step Up to the Mic: Denver Actors Fun-draiser highlights

By John Moore
June 3, 2013

Watch video highlights from CultureWest’s evening of karaoke silliness to raise seed money for the new Denver Actors Fund, a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in sudden medical need.

The host was Kent Randell. Performers on this video include Hannah Duggan, Steven Burge, Rich Cowden, Ben Dicke, Traci Kern, Seth Caikowski, Jalyn Courtenay Webb, Joel Adam Chavez, Carla Kaiser Kotrc, Lindsey Falduto, Tyler Nielson, Rob Rehburg, Paul Dwyer, Brian Walker-Smith, Joey Gasiorek, Justin Franzen, Suzanne Nepi and Kathi Wood.


Photos by John Moore, Kevin Lowry and Dabiel Langhoff.

How you can donate to the Denver Actors Fund
If you could not attend our June 1 fundraiser, you can still help get us off the ground with your donation. Just go to our fundraising page here to contribute — with our humble thanks.

About CultureWest.Org
Former Denver Post theater critic John Moore launched www.CultureWest.Org in August 2012 to change the way arts and culture are covered in Denver. In addition to reporting breaking news, his innovations have included several long-form video news documentaries; a daily Q&A with local theater directors; and an ambitious, year-long photo series titled, “It’s Opening Night in Colorado.” He also is the founder of the Denver Poust Underground Music Showcase (The UMS), entering its 13th year as now the largest music festival in Denver with more than 350 bands playing over four days.

Photos: My night at Ignite Theatre’s snowy ‘Cabaret’

There’s a lot of touching in the Kit Kat Klub — and in the backstage area of the Aurora Fox — as actor Maggie Tisdale can attest. The Fox’s shop area has been converted into a temporary dressing room to accommodate the huge Ignite Theatre cast, which performs on the studio stage while another big musical, “The Color Purple,” plays on the mainstage.


By John Moore
April 18, 2013

Welcome to my ongoing, 2013 labor-of-love photo series bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes on opening nights in Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.

Opening No. 55: Ignite Theatre’s “Cabaret”: Monday’s industry-night performance of Kander & Ebb’s classic musical drew a capacity crowd to the Aurora Fox despite a snowstorm. “Cabaret” follows an American writer who is coming of age in 1920s Berlin, when the end of an era of indulgence and sexual ambiguity paralleled the rise of the Nazi Party. It’s staged in-the-round in the Fox’s studio theater by director/choreographer Danny Harrigan, with drink service provided by the Kit Kat Boys during the show. Starring Matt LaFontaine as the Emcee, Lindsey Falduto as Sally Bowles, Marcus Turner as Clifford Bradshaw, Barbara Porreca as Fraulein Schneider, Brian Trampler as Herr Schultz, Rob Janzen as Ernst and Maggie Tisdale as Fraulein Kost. Featuring Stephanie Prugh, Cailin Doran, Mehry Islamminia, Norrell Moore, Brenna Thistle, Sadie Trigg, Joe Majestic, Alex Ambard, Tyler Nielsen, Rob Rehburg and Christopher Riney. Through May 5 at 9900 E. Colfax Ave. Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: 720-362-2697 or Ignite’s home page. Thanks: Keith Rabin, Mary Coan and Brandon Bill.

This gallery is one chapter in my ongoing photo series called “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theatre,” bringing you iconic snapshots from behind the scenes all over Colorado theater. All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org. To see the actual, official photo series featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from 55 Colorado opening nights (and counting), click here.

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Monday’s snowstorm sent star Matt LaFontaine (the Emcee) to the Aurora Fox’s back loading dock for what had to be a chilly a pre-show cigarette.


Matt LaFontaine.


Lindsey Falduto as Miss Sally Bowles.


Director and choreographer Danny Harrigan.



Brenna Thistle plays Fritzie.


Tyler Nielsen’s back tattoo reads, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” — a powerful counter to the Nazi youth-like anthem, “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” that is performed in “Cabaret” in the style of a traditional German song.


Director Danny Harrigan circles the cast and crew for a pre-show pep talk backstage. Harrigan introduced yoga and meditation techniques into the rehearsal process.


(Please click “Page 2” below to go to the next page of our photos from our visit to “Cabaret.”)

Photos: Shelly Bordas benefit performances raise money, lift hearts

The video above is Part 2 from my ongoing video documentary, “The Shelly Bordas Story.”


By John Moore
March 4, 2013

Back-to-back benefits for Shelly Bordas on Sunday and Monday nights brought grassroots fundraising efforts to help the cancer-stricken Denver mother, teacher and actor to nearly $30,000.

On Sunday, a concert organized by Mitch Samu was held at the Columbine United Church in Littleton. Some of the theater community’s most accomplished singers offered an evening of pop songs, Broadway tunes and spirituals. Featured performers included Joanie Brosseau, Sarah Rex, Megan Van De Hey, Thad Valdez, Ryan Belinak, Colin Hearn, Barry Brown, Kristen Samu and Tag Worley. The guest speaker was the church’s pastor, Steve Poos-Benson.


On Monday, a benefit performance of the Broadway musical “9 to 5” was held at the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center, where Bordas still teaches youth theater classes when she is up for it.


Both events were “pay what you can.” Sunday’s event raised $1,500; Monday’s another $2,400.

Before Monday’s performance, Denver actor, director and photographer Sarah Roshan presented Bordas with a check for $15,000. That’s the first payout from a fundraising web site Roshan started on GoGetFunding.Com to help defray Bordas’ medical costs, and help establish a college trust for her son, Nathan, who turns 4 next month.


Bordas has been battling breast cancer since 2009. In December 2012, she learned it has spread to her brain. Doctors have told her they cannot guarantee her a year, or even a week.

Bordas, who was hospitalized for five days last week with a blood infection, was able to attend the first half of Sunday’s benefit concert with her son, Nathan, and the first act of “9 to 5” the next night. At Monday’s benefit, Bordas expressed both her gratitude and embarrassment for all the love that has been flowing her way these past two months.

What got all of these fundraising efforts started was Bordas having to drop out of “9 to 5” to spend as much of her remaining time as possible with her son. She mentioned to the cast that her immediate goal was to take her son on a Disney cruise, “because I need to see that happen.” On Monday, she said she has booked a week-long Disney cruise to the Caribbean launching May 4 to celebrate Nathan’s 4th birthday. She will be accompanied by a team of family and care-givers, all made possible by the generosity of donors from the theater community and around the world.

To learn more about Shelly Bordas’ story, please take a look at my ongoing video documentary, “The Shelly Bordas Story”:

Part 1: “Tit for Tot”
Part 2: “My Son Wins” (embedded at the top of the page)
Part 3 will focus on how the community has responded to Bordas’ illness.

Here’s how fundraising efforts have broken down to date:
GoGet Funding.Com fundraising page: $17,520
Checks mailed to Town Hall Arts Center: $6,000
Benefit performances (including a night of improv at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse): $4,170
Contribution from the family of late actor Doug Rosen: $2,000

Dani Nelson Everson, a hair stylist who has never met Bordas, will host a cut-a-thon to benefit Bordas from 4-6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8 at Clementine’s Denver, 2009 W. 33rd Ave. Phone: 720-328-3594.

Note: the coordinator of all Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts is Kelly Kates. Her email is

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Photos, Part 1: Benefit performance of “9 to 5”:
All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.

Denver actor Sue Leiser presents Bordas with a production photo signed by the Los Angeles cast of “9 to 5,” currently featuring Denver native and Broadway veteran Beth Malone. They also sent a check for $150 that Malone had collected from L.A. cast members.


Part of the “9 to 5” cast backstage, from left: Taylor Young, Rebekah Ortiz, Norrell Moore, Matthew D. Peters, Rae Klapperich, Melissa Morris and Rob Rehburg.


Shelly Bordas with “9 to 5” director, and old friend, Christopher Willard.


“9 to 5” cast member Matthew D. Peters is having way too much fun with the many readily available costumes backstage at the Town Hall Arts Center.


Sarah Roshan presents Shelly Bordas with a $15,000 check from her fundraising page at


Denver actor Lisa Young.


Margie Lamb, who plays Violet in “9 to 5,” left, with Denver actor Carla Kaiser Kotrc, who attended college with Shelly Bordas at Western State in Gunnison.

(Please click below to go to the next page and see more photos from Sunday’s benefit concert at Columbine United Church.)